Cancer Genomic Medicine - Drug Resistance

Though important gains have been made in the treatment of cancer, one of the most critical challenges is how to handle tumors that eventually become drug resistant - whether that resistance develops within a few months or many years. The mechanisms that underly this resistance are still unknown and likely to be diverse and dependent a range of factors, including type of cancer, type of treatment, patient genetics and tumor genetics.

We announced in November 2016 a new 5 year project with the Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA, to study drug resistance. In this study, 10,000 samples from patients who exhibit drug resistance will be subject to whole-exome sequencing. This will be one of the largest datasets of its kind, and by capturing a wide variety of patients and treatments, we have the opportunity to understand the mechanisms of acquired resistance.

By harnassing computational approaches, including Watson, to large scale data analyses, we hope to uncover the types and mechanisms of drug resistance so that where possible resistance can be avoided or, if necessary, overcome as it arises.

For more information on the recently annouced collaboration to study drug resistance with the Broad Institute, please visit the following links.

IBM’s Watson to use genomic data to defeat drug-resistant cancers

IBM, Broad Institute to study drug resistance